Monday, May 20

Candidates announced for second North Westwood Neighborhood Council election


The North Westwood Neighborhood Council, which represents Westwood Village, the North Village and UCLA Campus, released a list of candidates for its upcoming election. (Daily Bruin file photo)

The North Westwood Neighborhood Council, which represents Westwood Village, the North Village and UCLA Campus, released a list of candidates for its upcoming election. (Daily Bruin file photo)


The North Westwood Neighborhood Council released a list of candidates for its upcoming election.

The council represents Westwood Village, the North Village and UCLA campus. The NWWNC elected an interim board in October following a vote to subdivide Westwood.

Twenty-six candidates are running for 19 two-year term seats. Among the list, 11 candidates do not currently hold seats on the council, though four are representatives on the council’s committees. Four current council members are not running for reelection. The election will be hosted May 16.

Gabriela Meza, vice president of the NWWNC and a fourth-year political science student, said she will not be running for reelection because she is graduating.

“We had a great experience this year with Westwood Forward and setting up the council,” Meza said. “I think we did our job setting up the council so that residents and students can continue the work we’ve done.”

Meza added she thinks the council needs to focus on outreach to get representation from women of color.

Chantelle Eastman, secretary of the NWWNC and a development coordinator for the UCLA Department of Neurology; Christian Green, former president of the Black Graduate Student Association; and Melissa Tapia, a third-year political science student, are also not running for reelection.

Eastman said she will not run for reelection because she wants to focus on combating homelessness independent of the council.

Candidates:

Homeowner stakeholder

One seat

Kaveh Navab, a NWWNC member and Westwood homeowner, said he wanted to work on improving parking access and public spaces.

Renter stakeholder

Two seats

Michael Skiles, president of NWWNC and UCLA’s Graduate Student Association, is running on the platform to move Westwood forward by increasing housing, entertainment and student-friendly businesses in Westwood.

Katja May, a NWWNC member, has volunteered with the UCLA Parent Council and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She said she aims to promote fairness and inclusivity.

William Larsen, a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual, said he wants to bring more business into the village. Larsen said he wants to address homelessness and reduce business vacancies in Westwood.

General resident stakeholder

Two seats

Grayson Peters, a NWWNC member and second-year political science student, has served on the Transportation and Safety Committee and the Land Use Committee. Peters said he will advocate for affordable housing and prioritize the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Ashraf Beshay, a NWWNC member and sixth-year biology student, has served on the Budget and Finance Committee and said he hopes to address housing costs and engagement among residents and students.

Benjamin Shou, a third-year computational and systems biology student, has served as a leadership development director for the UCLA Alumni Scholars Club. Shou said he advocates for student access to housing and transportation.

Business stakeholder

Three seats

Alex Helmi, a Westwood resident and owner of Damoka Rugs, said he wants Westwood to be more pedestrian- and business-friendly to bring students into the Village. Helmi said he would support initiatives to expand sidewalks.

Kevin Crummy, treasurer of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, said if he is reelected he will promote opening more food options, retailers, entertainment venues and rental housing.

Josh Trifunovic, a NWWNC member and owner of Rocco’s Tavern, said he grew up in the community and if he is reelected he will continue giving back to it. Trifuncovic said he will continue supporting business-friendly policies and community outreach.

Worker stakeholder

One seat

Luca Servodio, a Westwood resident and member of the organizing committee for the 2028 Olympics and Paralympics, served on the Outreach and Communication Committee. Servodio said he has worked to build the NWWNC’s relationship with the public.

Alisha Ranadive, a NWWNC member and chair of the Election Committee, said she led efforts to engage stakeholders to run for council seats. She said if she is reelected she will focus on strengthening support for local businesses and affordable housing.

Undergraduate student member

Two seats

Nahian Arfin, a second-year international development studies student, said he hopes to increase affordable housing and bike lanes and advocate for low-income students.

Dani Lowder, a third-year political science and international development studies student, has volunteered with Westwood Forward. She said she aims to bring pro-student businesses into Westwood.

Joey Russel, a third-year computer science and political science student, has served on the Land Use Committee and Election Committee as a public representative. Russel said he will advocate for new housing developments and low-cost food options in Westwood.

Graduate student Member

One seat

Ken Borkan, a graduate student at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, said he advocates for access to transportation and forming private and public partnerships with local businesses.

Paul Kurek, a NWWNC member and a graduate student in the department of Germanic languages, said he hopes to combat housing prices and nightlife restrictions.

Mara Braciszewski, a graduate student at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, served on the Community Events and Project Committee. Braciszewski said she aims to push projects to support local businesses and affordable housing.

University staff or administrative member

One seat

Wren Reynolds, a NWWNC member, said he laid the groundwork for online outreach for the council and has supported transportation initiatives in Westwood by starting conversations with transit companies such as Lyft, Lime and Jump.

Faculty member

One seat

Ryan Snyder, a NWWNC member and lecturer at the department of urban planning, served as co-chair for the Transportation and Safety Committee. Snyder said he will continue working to improve bicycle parking, bus stops, pedestrian crossings and sidewalks.

Organizational stakeholder

Two seats

Peter Clinco, a NWWNC member and owner of Skylight Gardens Restaurant and Bar, also serves on WVIA. Clinco said he aims to revitalize the Village by bringing in more retail, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Andrew Lewis, a NWWNC member and UCLA alumnus, served as chair for the Budget Committee. Lewis said he is committed to ensuring the council operates effectively.

Ernesto Arciniega, a UCLA alumnus, said he advocates for diversity and community engagement in Westwood.

Furkan Yalcin, a fourth-year political science student, served on the Outreach and Communication Committee and an event planning committee. Yalcin said he hopes to form relationships between Westwood residents and the council.

At-large stakeholder

Three seats

Amir Tarighat, a NWWNC member and owner of WV Investments, served as the council’s treasurer.

Zahra Hajee, a fourth-year psychobiology student, volunteered with Westwood Forward. Hajee said she aims to increase affordable housing and promoting businesses in Westwood.

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